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article imageAstronauts complete 3 spacewalks, fix ISS for future space taxis

By Sravanth Verma     Mar 2, 2015 in Science
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore completed a series of three spacewalks that began on February 22, to prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for future "space taxis."
Virts and Wilmore installed the last 400 feet of the 764 feet of cable that runs outside ISS, as well as several antennas, required to make the station ready for the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system, also called C2V2. The C2V2 will be used for docking by Boeing’s Crew Transportation System (CST)-100 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon, when they deliver crew members beginning in 2017.
The entire spacewalk, which took five hours and 38 minutes to complete, was webcast live on NASA's web TV. Virts has completed three spacewalks totaling 19 hours and 2 minutes in space, and Wilmore, who completed four spacewalks, has spent 25 hours and 36 minutes in space.
During the walk astronaut Virts' space helmet leaked water, as it had on the previous outing, but NASA confirmed that "it's a known issue; no concern." NASA confirmed that the suit has a history of "sublimator water carryover." The water in the cooling equipment condensed when the suit was repressurized after the spacewalk, causing a minute amount of water to enter the helmet. Virts had alerted astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti about the condensation, and she passed on the message to Mission Control in Houston. After an examination, Cristoforetti confirmed that the hemet's absorption pad or HAP was wet and cold.
About 15 milliliters of water are estimated to have accumulated in the pad, which was drawn out using a syringe. Water had collected in the white plastic at the top and around both ear cups. A previous water leak in 2013 had almost drowned an Italian astronaut!
ISS assembly and maintenance has thus far required 187 spacewalks totaling over 1171 hours. NASA considers the just completed walks the most challenging of its kind in the station's history.
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